Aug. 28, 2017 Indianapolis – On August 28, the Indiana Supreme Court issued a decision ending a case brought by a DCS caseworker challenging the failure of DCS to adequately staff the agency as...
2017 SPIRIT & PLACE FESTIVAL SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWERWhen: Wed. Nov. 8th, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.Where: Indianapolis Museum of ArtIndyGo: 38 Join us this November at the Spirit & Place Festival,...
February 10, 2016 -- Butler University, Indianapolis*
March 2, 2016 -- Evansville
May 4, 2016
September 7, 2016
November 2, 2016
*Event will be part of Founder's Week at Butler, and will be held on the 2nd Wednesday of February 2016.
Join us this November at the Spirit & Place Festival, as we host "Speaking Truth to Power."
Now more than ever, democracy demands we understand our rights and responsibilities regarding free speech. This event features Lee Rowland, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, author Tamara Winfrey Harris, and poet Tatjana Rebelle. It is presented by the ACLU of Indiana, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Muslim Alliance of Indiana, and Butler University Political Science Department.
Tickets are free, but seating is limited. +
For Immediate Release
Sept. 25, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS – Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana are pleased that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted summary judgment and a permanent injunction against the enforcement of abortion restrictions in House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1337, which was one of the more restrictive abortion laws in the nation. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, found that the provisions violate due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment as well as First Amendment rights of free speech.
The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit in April, 2016, on behalf of PPINK, against the Indiana State Department of Health, prosecutors of several counties and the state medical licensing board. Judge Pratt granted a preliminary injunction on June 30, 2016, blocking provisions of HEA 1337 that were set to go into effect the following day. Judge Pratt entered summary judgment on Sept. 22, 2017.
Indiana House Enrolled Act 1337, signed into law by Governor Pence on March 24 and effective July 1, 2016 imposed unconstitutional and intrusive restrictions on abortion. Recalling a time before the Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right to abortion, the Enrolled Act barred a woman from getting an abortion based on her reason. Specifically, it prohibited abortions if the sole reason for the abortion is the fetus's race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex or diagnosis of a statutorily-defined "disability" or "potential diagnosis" of a "disability."
In granting a permanent injunction, Judge Pratt wrote "[I]t is a woman's right to choose an abortion that is protected, which, of course, leaves no room for the State to examine, let alone prohibit, the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice." [emphasis in original]
Racial justice, gender equality, and disability rights advocates have opposed the Indiana law and similar legislation. They point out that if politicians were serious about addressing inequities based on race, gender or disability status, they could expand access to high quality healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.
The law also required that women must be informed of this prohibition as part of Indiana's state-mandated so-called "informed consent" process. The court ruled that compelling health care providers to inform women about an unconstitutional law violates the First Amendment. Judge Pratt's decision also struck down new fetal tissue disposition provisions of HEA 1337.
"PPINK was confident Judge Tanya Walton Pratt would rule that the restrictions imposed by HEA 1337 violate the Constitution," said Christie Gillespie, President and CEO of PPINK. "Every person deserves the right to make their own personal decisions about abortion. There is no medical basis for these restrictions. This is just another example of politicians coming between a patient and her doctor."
ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said, "The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that a woman, not the state, is to determine whether or not to obtain an abortion. The State of Indiana's attempt to invade a woman's privacy and to control her decision in this regard is unconstitutional."
"Unnecessary restrictions such as these demean women and threaten the quality of their health care." said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director. "The ACLU of Indiana will continue to work to ensure that every woman can make the best decision for herself and her family about whether and when to continue a pregnancy without undue political interference."
# # #
The case, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, et al., v. Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health, Prosecutors of Marion, Lake, Monroe, and Tippecanoe Counties; Individual Members of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, Case No. 1:16-cv-00763-TWP-DML, was filed on Thurs. April 7, 2016 in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Attorneys on the case include Kenneth J. Falk, Gavin M. Rose and Jan P. Mensz, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana; Helene Kransoff, Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and Jennifer Dalven, American Civil Liberties Union.
Decision garnered national attention as requirement would have made Indiana one of the most restrictive states to obtain an abortion
In a joint news conference today, the ACLU of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) shared in the victory of being granted a preliminary injunction by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana regarding the ultrasound requirement in House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1337.
"HEA 1337 required women to travel, often great distances, to obtain an ultrasound and then at least 18 hours later, return for an abortion. The court found that this new requirement resulted in a real impediment to women and served no legitimate purpose," said Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana Legal Director. "The court concluded, by granting the preliminary injunction, that PPINK was likely to ultimately succeed in its claim that the law was unconstitutional as an undue burden on a woman's constitutional rights."
Over the past year, a historic level of activism and protest has spilled out into our nation's parks, streets, and sidewalks — places where our First Amendment rights are at their height. And yet, in several states including Indiana, legislators have followed up on this exuberant activism with proposed bills that are not only far less inspiring, but also unnecessary and potentially unconstitutional.
Disappointingly, SB 285 is one such bill.
Even though these bills are cloaked with concerns about obstruction or public safety, their effect is singular: chilling protest and suppressing dissent. It is disappointing that our lawmakers would rather silence the voices of their constituents than listen and engage with them. It is unconstitutional and un-American and we at the ACLU are doing everything we can to stop it.
Editors: Please contact Christy Glesing at (317) 667-5991 for more information or to publish.
The First Amendment and existing federal and state law protect religious speech and mandate certain accommodations for religious exercise in government institutions. What the First Amendment does not permit is government endorsement of, or preference for, religious speech and subject matter in public schools.
By forcing public schools to introduce religious curricula and open up public for a for religious speech, HB 1024 puts teachers and school administrators at risk of violating the First Amendment. In sum, HB 1024 takes away the autonomy of school districts to avoid policies and practices that make them susceptible to legal challenges under the United States Constitution.
A Survival Guide to the Next Four Years will be held in cities across Indiana this year. Registration for these free community discussions featuring local panelists will open soon.
Hear from the ACLU of Indiana and other community advocates on how to stand up for what's right the in the face of threats and policies that undermine our core American values.
June 7, 6-7:30 p.m.
Location and panelists to be determined soon, but you can still RSVP today!
No doubt, the distinctions between the First Amendment's protections for an individual's free exercise of religion and the First Amendment's prohibition against government's endorsement of religion can be confusing and complicated. However, each of the arguments that Mr. Heck [ACLU declares 'war' on the Constitution, 12/18/16] presents has been addressed and squarely rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Here is what past U.S. Supreme Court decisions say about the issues surrounding the town of Knightstown's decision to place a cross on top of a Christmas tree in the town square:
Updated: Dec. 13, 2016
On Dec. 12, Knightstown officials removed a religious symbol from the town square in response to a lawsuit filed Dec. 8 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Knightstown, Ind. resident Joseph Tompkins. The lawsuit challenges the Town of Knightstown's display of a Latin cross on a large evergreen tree on the square. The tree is also decorated with lights and ornaments in celebration of Christmas. The plaintiff, citing a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, sought only to have the religious symbol removed, and did not seek monetary damages for the suit. Attorneys are looking at a resolution to this case.
In 1986, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in ACLU of Illinois v. City of St. Charles, affirmed a preliminary injunction stopping the City of St. Charles from displaying a cross on a television antenna that was on top of its fire department.
"The cross is the best known symbol of Christianity and Knightstown's prominent display of this symbol represents an establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director.